NATIONAL University showed Gilas Pilipinas the way out via a 86-81 comeback win in the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Bulldogs held off a Gilas comeback in the final quarter to post just their second win in five games while dealing the nationals a fifth loss in six games.
The NU victory also spoiled Kobe Paras' finest game since returning from the US to join the Gilas cadets in this preseason tournament.
The 6-foot-6 forward scored nine in the team’s 11-0 blast over a three-minute span, giving the cadets a 77-72 lead.
But the Bulldogs made their own 11-0 run to regain control, 83-77, with 19.6 second left to play.
John Lloyd Clemente led NU with 23 points, John Galinato had 20 markers, Joson added 14 and Shaun Ildefonso chipped in 13.
“We’re maturing right now, as I’ve been saying start of the year that this group of young men, they have the talent and the skill level,” said NU coach Jamike Jarin.
“They’ll be very good in the coming years. The reason why I keep on saying 'coming years' is because it is very young. We need to fast track the maturity, now we’re maturing every game,” he added.
Paras scored 20 points for Gilas, while Abu Tratter had 16, Juan Gomez de Liano made 11 and former NU captain JJ Alejandro contributed 11 markers.
NU 86 – Clemente 23, Galinato 20, Joson 14, Ildefonso S. 13, Aquino 6, Ildefonso D., 4, Mosqueda 2, Tibayan 2, Gaye 1, Yu 1, Gallego 0, Sinclair 0, Oczon 0, Mangayaom 0, Diputado 0
GILAS 81 – Paras 20, Tratter 16, Gomez de Liano 13, Alejandro 11, Rivero R., 9, Tolentino 4, Ambohot 4, Tuffin 2, Tamayo 2, Go 0
Quarterscores: 21-26, 43-47, 66-63, 86-81